What to Expect from a 60-watt Solar Panel | Power output, appliances, and batteries

60w solar panels are a good option for keeping your low-power appliances charged while out camping or on the move.

They generate limited power during the day and there is only so much you can do with the daily power generated by this capacity of solar panel.

So, In this post, I cover:

  • what you can expect from a 60w solar panel including power produced,
  • energy (kWh) you can get,
  • what size of charge controller to use,

and what size of inverter to use in the hope that you can get the most out of your solar panel the first time around!


How Much Power a 60w Solar Panel Produces?

A 60w solar panel generates a peak power output of 60 watts. The actual power produced by the solar panel is usually less than the indicated maximum solar panel of 60 watts.

This is because this peak power output is attained under ideal conditions (lighting, temperature) that the panel is not exposed to in its installation environment.

How much actual power the solar panel generates on:

  • how much sunlight the panel is exposed to.

Panels yield more power when there is more sunlight shining on them. Solar panel output reduces during periods of cloud cover and when obstacles cast shadows onto the solar panels.

  • panel temperature, solar panels yield more power during cooler weather than hot weather
  • how clean the solar panels are. Film of dust and other debris limits how much light the solar panel cells can receive and therefore how much power they can generate.

The cleaner the panels are, the more power they are able to generate.

Therefore your solar panels will yield the most power when they are directly facing the sun with no shadows or obstacles blocking the sun from reaching a part of the panel and during cool, clear skies.

You may also be interested in: What you can expect from a 100-watt solar panel


How Much Power a 60w Solar Panel Produces During the Day?

The power produced by the solar panel during the day can vary from 0 to 60 watts depending on the factors above.

On the other hand, the energy produced by a 60w solar panel during the day typically ranges between 180 – 300 Wh, based on the average peak sunshine hours in the United States of between 3-5 peak sunshine hours.

The energy generated determines what capacity of appliances (watts) you can run with the 60w solar panel consistently.

What Can a 60w Solar Panel Run?

60W solar panels are used to charge portable devices with limited power consumption on the go such as when camping.

These solar panels can have several 5V USB adapters, 18V and 12V outputs to charge several appliances at the same time.

Examples of appliances and applications where a 60w solar panel is used:

  • charging selected portable solar generator (check that the solar panel can be used with a particular solar generator model)
  • charging small power banks
  • powering portable 12V fans
  • portable speakers, cameras
  • charging phones, tablets and others

Can a 60watt Solar Panel Power a Refrigerator?

No, a 60w solar panel is not likely to generate enough power to run a refrigerator consistently.

This solar panel generates between 180 – 300wh a day assuming 3-5 hours of sunshine and yet a number of mini fridges need slightly under 1kW per day (more than the 300wh) to run consistently.

How Many Amps a 60w Solar Panel Produces?

A 60W solar panel usually has an output voltage of 18V and a peak current of 3.3A.

The output power and current vary according to the solar panel temperature and how much sunlight is falling onto the solar panels.

Solar panel power output is higher in cooler weather than hot weather.

It also increases when solar panels are exposed to more sunshine.

How Many Batteries Can a 60w Solar Panel Charge?

A 60W solar panel can fully charge 1 x 20Ah, 1 x 15Ah, 2 x 10Ah batteries in parallel in about a day. Larger capacity batteries that are cycled on a daily basis may not fully charge with the 180 -300Wh generated on a daily basis.

You may be able to use a larger capacity battery – 35Ah if it occasionally and discharge it to less than 50%.

Note: This assumes that the batteries are only discharged to 50% of their capacity.

What Size of Charge Controller to Use with a 60w Solar Panel?

You can use a 10A PWM or MPPT charge controller or larger (if you intend to grow the size of your solar system) with a 60W solar panel.

What Size of Inverter to Use with a 60w Solar System?

Inverter size is based upon the combined power consumption of the AC appliances that you plan to power off your solar panel and battery system.

You are likely to find a 60w solar panel system packed with a 200W inverter unless you plan to grow the solar system capacity later.

If you do, then it is better to size the inverter to include the combined power consumption of the appliances you plan to connect to the inverter so that you purchase an inverter once.

How Long it Takes a 60w Solar Panel to Charge a Battery

A 60w solar panel can fully charge a 20Ah battery in about 5 – 6 hours.

This assumes that the battery is only discharged to only 50% of its capacity.

Should the battery be discharged to more than 50%, then it will take longer to charge it fully.

Final Thoughts

Power production from a 60-watt solar panel varies from 0 – 60w depending on how hot it is, cloud cover, and if there are any shadows on the panels.

Using the energy from the solar panel and stored in a battery, charge portable solar generators and other low-power appliances such as phones, tablets, cameras, and others.

With the 60W solar panel, you will typically be able to charge 1 x 20Ah, 2 x 10Ah batteries consistently if discharged up to 50% of their capacity in about a day.

Larger battery capacities may work if the batteries are only used occasionally and discharged to less than 50% of their capacity.

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